UFC 221 Betting: Rockhold and Romero to Battle for Interim Belt in Perth
Luke Rockhold (L) will face Yoel Romero (R) at UFC 221
The latest UFC pay-per-view event sees the Octagon arrive in the Land Down Under, as Perth plays host to its first UFC show.
The main event on Saturday evening is a mouth-wateringly good matchup, as former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold faces off against the terrifyingly powerful Yoel Romero, who won Olympic silver in freestyle wrestling in Australia back in 2000.
If you’re looking for the best, most well-rounded athlete in the UFC middleweight division, look no further than Rockhold. He’s huge for the weight class (listed at 6-foot-3), has good striking and excellent, underrated grappling. Plus, he knows how to win a world title, having defeated Chris Weidman to win the belt at UFC 194 back in 2016.
But he hasn’t faced an athlete quite like Romero. The Cuban is a bona-fide specimen, and pound for pound he’s one of the most powerful combatants on the UFC roster.
His stamina has been called into question, but his ability to finish people at any point during a fight has made him a tough matchup for anyone at 185lbs.
A pure wrestler with genuine knockout power with his hands and his knees, Romero has the ability to finish the fight at any time during the five rounds. But Rockhold is the superior fighter. He has more ways to win, possesses better endurance and has the advantage in both height and reach.
All the bookmakers, bar one, have Rockhold as a narrow favorite, with 5Dimes offering odds of -145 on a Rockhold victory. But there’s one outlier, with BetDSI offering odds of +150 on a Rockhold win, as they’ve gone out on a limb and set Romero as the pre-fight favorite at -180.
Romero hasn’t been stopped in seven years, so Rockhold’s most likely route to victory could be by points.
PICKS: Rockhold to win @ +150 (BetDSI), Rockhold by decision @ +502 (5Dimes)
The Best of the Rest…
Kiwi heavyweight legend Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt faces rising prospect Curtis “Razor” Blaydes in the night’s co-main event, and I’m delighted the bookies have Blaydes the favorite.
That’s because I believe Hunt will get the W, using his prodigious knockout power to hurt a still pretty green Blaydes as he looks to close the distance and shoot for a takedown.
The +230 on Hunt winning inside the distance looks like value to me.
Also on my list to win inside the distance is Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa. He’s a 3-1 favorite to defeat Cyril Asker, and value is in short supply, with the -245 available for Tuivasa to win inside the distance as probably the best bet.
And Aussie lightweight Alex Volkanovski is a +130 bet to defeat Jeremy Kennedy by decision over three rounds. Given Volkanovski’s last two UFC appearances both resulted in decision victories, the plus odds on a repeat make the bet worth taking.
[Top Photo: Luke Rockhold (L) will face Yoel Romero (R) at UFC 221]
[Credit: Don Wright/Adam Hunger – USA TODAY Sports]